September 30, 2023

ITV has learned nothing from Caroline Flack’s death, says her mother

Caroline Flack’s mother has criticized ITV for dealing with ex This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield, saying the broadcaster has learned nothing from her daughter’s death.

Presenters are not always protected, Christine Flack told BBC Newsnight.

In a BBC interview, Schofield apologized for lying about his affair, saying he had “lost everything”.

ITV says it feels “seriously let down” by Schofield and has insisted it takes its “duty of care seriously”.

Christine accused the broadcaster of treating employees as “commodities” and told Newsnight that presenters are “people” but are sometimes “sidelined, not protected”.

Christine also seemed to question ITV’s aftercare, saying “They could really get someone to speak for him, whether he did right or wrong … it really doesn’t look good.”

Christine’s daughter Caroline, best known for ITV’s hugely popular Love Island, was found dead in February 2020 at the age of 40.

Caroline stopped hosting Love Island in December 2019 after being charged with assault by hitting.

A coroner later ruled she had committed suicide — a day after learning prosecutors would pursue assault charges following an incident involving her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

Christine believes ITV “has learned nothing” since her daughter’s death more than three years ago.

She told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire: “If my employer didn’t look after me there would be hell to pay. And there isn’t.”

Christine said Schofield and his former lover were having a “terrible time” and urged them not to do “crazy things”.

Schofield gave his first interviews this week after admitting to lying about an affair with a younger male colleague.

Asked how he was doing, and after a long pause, the TV presenter told the BBC’s Amol Rajan: “I think I understand how Caroline Flack felt.”

Christine told the BBC that Schofield “knew Caroline” and when she died he “was very upset”.

“I think now he realizes even more what she’s been through,” said Christine. “But until it happens to you, you feel sad, but you don’t understand.”

Schofield told the BBC the fallout in the media was “brutal”, which Christine said was “exactly” how her daughter Caroline had felt.

“Every day she tried to be a little bit stronger, which I imagine Phillip is [doing],” she said.

The problem is, she continued, “You get more and more thrown at you”.

Begging people to let the situation “sink in”, she said Schofield had lost “his job” and “his world”, adding: “I think that’s enough. I think that’s enough for everyone. “

In a statement, ITV said: “The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust. Phillip has assured us and his agency that he now acknowledges they were not true and we feel very let down.

“As a producer and broadcaster, ITV takes its duty of care responsibilities seriously and has robust and established processes to support the mental and physical health of employees and everyone we work with.”

ITV has already commissioned an external review of the handling of the relationship between Schofield and his colleague.

Schofield, who came out as gay in 2020, also said he believed homophobia had fueled media coverage of his extramarital affair.

He said revelations of a similar heterosexual relationship would have been treated as “nudge nudge, wink wink”, but “if it’s a homosexual relationship then suddenly it raises eyebrows”.

He continued, “People find each other attractive in different age groups, I mean it happens … I appreciate it the workplace and the history, and I get that – but the fact that it’s so massive is predominantly homophobia.”

Help and support

If you are affected by any of the issues in this article, you can find information about organizations that can help you through the BBC Action Line.

Schofield interview

Schofield interview

Phillip Schofield: The full interview

The former This Morning presenter speaks about his affair and subsequent spat with the BBC’s Amol Rajan.

Watch now on BBC iPlayer (UK only)

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer

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